Elephant Village Pattaya Zoo Review

Elephant Village Pattaya – Zoo Review

The RIGHT-tourism Zoo Review is a quick but informed guide to the quality of places where the public can see animals, including zoos, dolphinariums and other attractions.

We’ve used a range of measures, taken from information available online, to judge how well the animals at the particular zoo or animal attraction are looked after. More than just a ‘review’, the results are actually a Quality Index which will allow tourists and the attractions themselves to judge how well the attractions are performing.

Please note, the information we use is taken from what we assume to be genuine and factually correct comments from reviews, blogs and news stories. If there are factual inaccuracies, please let us know and we will make the relevant changes.

RIGHT-tourism Zoo Review Rating for: Elephant Village Pattaya



Pattaya Elephant Village is a place where tourists can intermingle with retired elephants, which generally are able to wander freely around the camp. Any place that genuinely looks after elephants and provides them with a home, enabling them to behave naturally and be fed and kept healthy, must be commended.

An issue that arises with Pattaya Elephant Village however is the ‘touristy’ side of the attraction. Naturally places like this need to make money to support the elephants, but some reviews suggest that the balance between caring for the elephants, and using them to make money, is a little skewed.

Issues of concern include the fact that the elephants can be ridden by guests – this is not always good for the elephants, which are meant to be retired from working. Also, Pattaya is an attraction which includes elephant ‘shows’, such as elephants playing football and riding bicycles. These are obviously completely unnatural behaviours, and often involved cruelty or at least discomfort in both the training, and the performance, and we recommend they are stopped immediately.

Elephant village pattaya

Section One: Social Media and News

Number of negative TripAdvisor reviews

Number of negative reviews:  1/20

Score: 2.5 points

Positives include good treatment of “retired working elephants in a dignified way”, andanother reviewer mentions that the elephants are given the freedom to roam.  Negatives include a reviewer suggesting that the whole attraction was very “touristy” and based around the making of money, the reviewer even went on to suggest that the elephants “could have been treated better”.

Number of negative Google reviews

Number of negative reviews:  4/20

Score: 2 Points

Reviewers did not justify why they gave these reviews.

Number of negative news articles and blogs

Number of negative mentions:  1/10

Score: 5 points

One reviewer highlighted her thoughts on the animal’s condition, suggesting that the “elephant was friendly and looked well treated”. Another reviewer questioned the meaning of their use of the word ‘retirement’, suggesting that retirement should not involve tourists riding on their backs, he/she even goes on to include that such an endeavour is not natural nor comfortable.Positives include:

Total Score for Social Media and News Section:  9.5/10

Section Two: General Quality of Life

Absence of prolonged hunger and/or thirst

Score: Yes 2 Points

The animals are provided with adequate water and food, with part of the ticket prices for the event providing for their feed.

Being fed an appropriate diet based on their wild diet

Score: Probably 1 Points

There is the suggestion that the elephants are provided with food similar to their wild counterparts, however, financially this is not always feasible.

Ease of movement within living quarters

Score: Yes 2 Points

The visitors and the owners themselves indicate that there is adequate space provided to the elephants for roaming, on their official website there is the suggestion that “the Elephant Village [has]… plenty of space for feeding and the natural surroundings are good for the elephants”.

Although vague, with no actual figure for space the images display that there is a sizeable living quarters for the elephants.

Enrichment in living quarters (eg climbing frame, toys etc)

Score: Yes 2 Points

Within the environment, there is the companionship of other elephants for other elephants to enjoy – this is particular beneficial as elephants are social creatures.

There is also regular baths and tours which the elephants may be guided on in order for them to have a feel for a more natural habitat.

Absence of injuries or disease

Score: Probably 1 Points

Part of the ticket price is suggested to pay towards medical fees, however the extremely frequent interaction with tourists may cause potential injuries. Reviewers have not brought this area up as a cause for concern.

Absence of pain (eg being not being chained, or not being hit by staff)

Score: Probably 1 Points

On the official website of the attraction there is an image of an elephant chained next to its calf, although there are other images of elephants freely roaming.

Ability to express natural and social behaviours in living quarters

Score: Probably 1 Points

The elephants are able to express social interaction behaviours as they are housed in large numbers reminiscent of a herd. However, their daily lives constitute of providing rides to tourists and performing various acts such as football which is highly unnatural.

Good human-animal relationship with staff

Score: Yes 2 Points

On the website of the attraction, there is mention of the elephants being friendly and images display the elephants to pose as quite relaxed. There is a previous incident involving an elephant master being attacked by an elephant.

Absence of general fear/distress/apathy

Score: Yes 2 Points

Reviewers have suggested that the elephants seem relaxed and content. Video footage from the website supports this by showing them gathered in social groups and eating – there is no pacing or aggressive mannerisms identifiable from the elephants.

Ability to seek privacy/refuge from humans and other animals

Score: No 0 Points

It appears that the interactive nature of the attraction means that the elephants are within the humans display at all times – there appears to be no privacy or refuge which may cause animal welfare concerns.

Total Score for General Quality of Life: 9 /20

Section Three: Interaction with the Public

The interactions are not harmful in any way for the animal’s welfare

Score: No    0 Points

This attraction allows the public to directly engage with the animals, however although there is no report of people causing the animals harm, there is no doubting the possibility that the animals may be feeling uncomfortable.

With such a direct interaction, there is always the possibility of an event such as this occurring.

In addition, the performing of Elephant shows does cause concern from an animal welfare point of view. Although the attraction website does not specify activities taken in detail (only mentions football), reviewers have mentioned that Elephants “play football, basketball and even ride bicycles.” Not only is this unnatural, but it is undoubtedly thoroughly uncomfortable for the animals involved. It is unknown whether the animals are forcefully commanded to perform these tricks.

The interactions are not harmful in any way for the public’s welfare (any previous history of dangerous incidents)

Score: Probably 1 Points

There is a previous history of dangerous incidents where in 2014, an 18 year old female elephant inflicted injuries on an elephant master leaving him in a life threatening condition.

These animals are large and although apparently tame, they will always be unpredictable so there may be public welfare concerns for the future.

The animals are not forced to interact with the public – they can refuse

Score: Probably 1 Points

There is no mention of whether the animals are permitted refusal to give a ride or perform a show and the consequences of this.

The public are not allowed to handle the animals and touch them

Score: No 0 Points

The attraction actively encourages the public to undertake a ride of an elephant, in this way there is continuous handling of the animals.

The interactions are supervised by staff and in an educational context

Score: Yes 2 Points

Staff supervise all interactions.

Total Score for Interaction with the Public:  4/10


Section Four: Conservation and Education

Are some of the animals part of international breeding programs?

Score: Probably 1 Points

Unknown although there is no suggestion of this from reviewers or web content.

Is there evidence of them having released animals into the wild?

Score: No 0 Points

The website suggests that the deteriorating habitat of the animals means that there is no possibility of releasing them to the wild.

Do they actively undertake scientific research into conservation/behaviour of their animals?

Score: Probably 1 Points

Unknown, although mentioned briefly on the webpage, there is no detailed information on this.

Does the attraction give money to conservation or animal protection programmes?

Score: Probably 1 Points

The website of the attraction highlights that part of the ticket “helps those elephants in the wild” however, this vague and there is no detailed information provided on this.

Does the attraction provide educational talks or written displays to inform visitors about the animals?

Score: Probably 1 Points

The elephants do perform shows and the during these, the elephant masters educate the visitors on the natural behaviours of the animals in the wild, show techniques in elephant care and display a multitude of training activities.

However, from an animal welfare point of view, these shows may be viewed as uncomfortable and unnatural for the elephants, with reviewers mentioning that Elephants are required to “play football, basketball and even ride bicycles”.

Total Score for Conservation and Education:  4/10

Zoo Review Final Score for the Elephant Village, Pattaya:  26.5/50

Rating: Average – the attraction scores well in some areas but improvements would be welcome

Do you agree or disagree with this Zoo Review? Please let us know in the Comments below.
If you are from this attraction and would like to comment on this Zoo Review, we’ll be happy to publish your response. Please email info@careforthewild.com or click


This report was compiled on: date 15th November 2014 by AT. Find out more about our Zoo Review campaign here.

Zoo Review Final Score is given out of 50 as a sum of the four sections, then a RIGHT-tourism Zoo Review rating is awarded based on this score:

0-10: Unacceptable – the animal welfare at this attraction appears to be of a very low standard and a cause of great concern
11-20: Poor – it appears that significant improvement is needed in order to meet welfare standards
21-30: Average – the attraction scores well in some areas but improvements would be welcome
31-40: Good – Public opinion and animal welfare measures suggest that the animals here are looked after well
41-50: Best in Class – the welfare of the animals appears to be of a very high standard

TripAdvisor and Google scores are worked out by dividing the number of negative welfare reviews by the total (20) and multiplying by 100 to give a percentage, then giving a score out of 2.5 as follows:

0-19% negative 2.5 points
20-39% 2 points
40-59% 1.5 points
60-79% 1 point
80-89% 0.5 point
90–100% 0 points

News and blog scores are worked out by dividing the number of negative welfare reviews by the total (10) and multiplying by 100 to give a percentage, then giving a score out of 5 as follows:

0-19% negative 5 points
20-39% 4 points
40-59% 3 points
60-79% 2 point
80-89% 1 point
90–100% 0 points

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